Batman leads 6 to 2, but having just pulled off B&B's 100th issue, he might decide to sleep on his laurels, opening the field up to Ben Grimm and his Amazing Friends! But this one is especially interesting because Batman's guest-star is kind of the Ben Grimm of the DC Universe, while Ben's guest-star was literally based on Batman!
In the black corner... it's Batman and Metamorpho, written by Bob Haney and drawn by Jim Aparo, Brave and the Bold #101, Cold Blood, Hot Gun!
In the orange corner... we have the Thing and Nighthawk, written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Ron Wilson and Pablo Marcos, Marvel Two-in-One #34, A Monster Walks Among Us!
... DING DING DING!
Commissioner Gordon isn't even trying to solve crimes anymore, is he? A guy falls off a skyscraper and he turns to Batman to determine if it's a suicide or a murder. And since the building has no opening windows, it's pretty clear... At least Batman proves himself a sharp detective, drawing logical conclusions and reading messages off typewriter ribbons (1972, kids!). He's so proud of his deductions and the information he bullies out of street connections, he's even ready to gamble his cape on it!
Though Alicia is nowhere to be seen, Ben is still on the extended London vacation he's been hypnotized into forgetting. So does it seem short, or long and uneventful? Probably the latter, since he admits to having "itchy pants" while waiting for the Deathlok to be revived. And as soon as the ol' cyborg from the future is better, Ben's scientist friend is off reviving other monsters (I guess that's his expertise). Ben does very little to pass the time, so he won't have too much else to forget. Essentially, it's just him ripping a bell out of country church's belfry to create a fire-fighting bucket.
By the time Bob Haney returns to his elemental creation in this issue, Rex Mason hadn't been seen since 1968's Metamorpho #17, almost four years, and he was set to start appearing regularly in an Action Comics back-up the very next month. But while the storyline left dangling at the end of Rex's series isn't addressed, Haney DOES explain where Metamorpho's BEEN for the past 3+ years!
Rich Kyle Richmond is really Nighthawk and he doesn't really cares who knows. His London HQ board of directors doesn't bat a collective eye when he gets to a meeting late because he had to deal with his own plane's hijacking over Uganda (quite the detour), and he shares the information with the Thing between panels. Though the original (Squadron Supreme) Nighthawk was modeled on Batman, he shares none of the Bat's secret identity anxieties, and is a lot more worried about losing his fortune with bad business decisions. He does a LITTLE more than Ben this issue, though it's mostly flying around. He does save some kids from a hospital fire, though.
A one-armed killer with no name? Where did Haney get the idea? (Harrumph.) This contract killer is cool as ice and will try to kill you the minute you try to renege on a deal. And he's never caught, not even by the World's Greatest Detective despite the fact that he pulls bonehead moves like typing up the list of his intended victims on the first victim's typewriter. Uhm... But forget all that, this guy can make your death look like a suicide or an accident, OR he can blow you up with his artificial arm bomb!
Nighthawk's company employs the Thing's scientist friend to take a strange creature trapped in rock from the Tunguska site. Meet -- the Shambler!
Odds vs. Ends
From Brave and the Bold:
-I need to give Sapphire Stagg her own score here, because she runs out on her father and Rex's security (to go to an illegal gambling den, no less) by dressing up as an Asian male servant...
From Marvel Two-in-One:
-If you were wondering what the hell kind of deer that's supposed to be in the Shambler pic, wait 'til you see the "outskirts of London":
-When your comic presents dangerous behavior, you put up warnings.
Farewells and Scoring
Bonus unfriendly farewell: Because Ben is really taking part in longer story arcs, some of the farewells come a little late. Case in point, Nick Fury and Deathlok.
Not even close. Metamorpho's return nets him 22 points, while Nighthawk manages a meek 15. We're now at 7 to 2, and getting closer to the point of no-winning. I'm not hopeful Two-in-One can reverse the trend so long as Marv Wolfman is at the helm. At least Ron Wilson takes a break as of next issue.